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Performance Reports

FAQs

When will I receive my child’s scores?

Score reports will be sent home in August 2016. Within the report, parents will find information on their child's test performance and specific skills that need improvement.

What does my child’s test score mean?

The new state test measures how well your child is performing in English Language Arts and math. AzMERIT scores are just one of several measures, including report card grades, classroom performance and feedback from teachers that can be used to measure your child’s academic progress.

Will my child have to pass AzMERIT to graduate?

Students will not be required to pass the assessment for graduation. As of Feb. 20, 2015, current juniors and seniors do not need to pass AIMS to graduate. Beginning with the class of 2017, all students will need to pass a civics test for graduation.

What should I take away from this report?

This AzMERIT score report helps you understand your child's academic achievement. You can see how your child is performing in comparison to peers in the same grade level, school and district. In addition to giving you an overall score, the report also breaks down each subject into categories to provide you with a better understanding of how your child performed in different areas of math and English Language Arts.

Why does my child’s score look different from scores on previous tests?

Because AzMERIT is a new test, these first year test scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured. Your child’s score, as well as school and district results, may look lower this year because the test measured more complex skills including critical thinking, problem-solving and analysis. A low score does not mean your child did not improve or learned less. It simply means that the expectations have been raised for students. It is also important to know that AzMERIT is a very different test than we’ve had before, so it is not possible to compare our old test to AzMERIT. In addition, as a new test, students and teachers still need time to adjust to the new assessment. Given time and our support, we know that our students will rise to the challenge.

How will my child's score be used?

Scores will be used to better tailor instruction to individual student needs and give us a tool to see how students and schools across the state are doing.

What if my child did well on his or her report card last year, but not as well on this test?

The new tests are only one of several measures that are used to determine your child's academic performance. Report card grades include multiple sources of information - participation, work habits, group projects, and homework - all of which are important in determining a child's academic achievement. These sources are not reflected on the test, so there may be some differences. To further explore your child's academic achievement, talk with his or her teacher.

What types of questions were asked?

AzMERIT includes a number of different types of questions, including performance tasks that are multi-step assignments that ask students to apply their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. In English, students have to apply their research and writing skills, and in math, they solve complex problems and then describe and defend their reasoning. The test also includes traditional multiple choice questions, as well as interactive questions that require students to drag and drop their answers into a box, create equations, and fill in the answer.

How are the new tests different?

They focus on measuring real-world skills. For example, students were asked to read complex passages, analyze them, and write thoughtful responses, which is different from previous tests. This was also the first time a statewide test included a writing section at every grade level.

AzMERIT does not lend itself to teaching to the test. By moving away from simple fill in the bubble tests, the temptation to teach to the test was eliminated. The new tests emphasize applying skills over memorization. Strong teaching coupled with engaged learning throughout the year is the best way to prepare for this test. Since the standards ensure students are learning what they need to know, and the new tests are aligned to the standards, schools can now focus on what is most important, instead of test prep.

Are there any ways to see if a child is not doing well due to lack of effort versus lack of understanding?

Comparing student performance on AzMERIT with other English Language Arts and/or math assessments or course work can help determine whether poor performance on AzMERIT is due to not trying or due to not understanding. A student who did not try on AzMERIT would likely show better performance on other tests or course work.

How can I use these test results to help my child improve?

You can use the test results to guide a discussion with your child's teachers about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in class, as well as ways to support your child at home. Your child's performance is broken down into categories in each subject. Therefore, you can use also this information to locate activities online that were designed specifically for each category at every grade level.

How long will it be before I can see progress in my child's score?

As teachers spend more time focusing on the content outlined in the new standards and students gain more practice with the skills, scores are expected to improve over time.

What is Move on When Reading (MOWR)?

“Move On When Reading” is a state law that says a student may not be promoted from third grade to fourth grade if the student is reading at a much lower level than is expected of a third grader. A student’s reading level is determined using the “Reading for Information” and “Reading for Literature” scoring categories of the AzMERIT English language arts assessment. More details about a student’s performance on these two areas can be found on the back of the family score report.

Schools and districts will notify parents at the earliest indication that a student is not reading at grade level. Therefore, if your child’s score report shows that he or she did not pass the Move on When Reading requirement you most likely will have already received a letter or other form of communication from the school. If you are worried about your child’s reading ability, you should speak directly with his or her teacher to learn more.

Most schools and districts included a message for parents on end-of-year report cards of third grade students explaining that promotion to fourth grade is dependent upon the student’s final AzMERIT reading scores. Parents with students identified as not meeting the MOWR requirement will be notified this summer, after districts and schools review their students’ raw scores.

If your child did not meet the requirement on last year’s test, there are a variety of services that may be available to provide the necessary support to help your child catch up.

It’s important to note that some students are exempt from the law, including certain English Language Learners, students with individual education plans, students in the process of a special education evaluation, or students diagnosed with a significant reading impairment, including dyslexia.
This informational video has been made available to all Valley public school districts.